Brew Guide for SCAA-Approved Drip Coffee Makers - Driftaway Coffee
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Brew Guide for SCAA-Approved Drip Coffee Makers

The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) has a list of coffee makers the association officially approves. At the time of writing, there 12 current models the SCAA approved (and three past models).

These coffee makers afford precise control over all brewing parameters, and several models are programmable. They won’t, however, brew the perfect cup of coffee on their own. The right parameters must be used. Here’s how to brew great coffee with the SCAA’s certified coffee makers.

Start with Fresh Coffee

First and foremost, you’ll want to use freshly roasted coffee anytime you’re brewing with one of these coffee makers. These models are excellent at bringing out nuanced flavors of coffees, but they’re only able to do so if those nuanced flavors are still in the coffee beans. Stale coffee, coffee that’s more than a few weeks old, has lost a lot of its flavor, and no coffee maker will be able to bring those flavors back.

Use Distilled Water

You’ll also want to use distilled water every time you’re brewing with these coffee makers. Distilled water is pure hydrogen and oxygen. It doesn’t contain any impurities that will throw off the taste of your brewed coffee or cause mineral deposits to form inside your coffee maker (which won’t be cheap if it’s SCAA-certified).

Step 1: Measure Out the Coffee and Water

Once you have coffee and water, begin by measuring out the right amount of coffee and water. We recommend using 14 grams (0.5 ounces) of coffee for every 250 grams (8 ounces) of water. Too much coffee or too little water, and the resulting brew will be over-extracted. Too little coffee or too much water, and the brewed coffee will be under-extracted

Step 2: Set the Water Temperature

Next, set the water temperature you’d like to brew at. Being able to precisely control the water temperature is one of the benefits of these SCAA-approved models. Not only are you able to determine what temperature you want to brew at, but the coffee makers are insulated so the water will stay at that temperature throughout the brewing process. In contrast, most French presses and manual pour-overs aren’t insulated, and heat is lost as the coffee brews.

Coffee should be brewed between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Since heat won’t be lost during the brewing process, you can pick any temperature within this range. Try a few different temperatures, and see if you can taste a difference in how the brewed coffee turns out.

Step 3: Grind the Coffee

You should grind coffee beans fresh each time you brew a pot of coffee. Grinding releases flavor compounds in coffee by breaking up the beans. Thus, grinding right before brewing minimizes how much flavor is lost and maximizes how many compounds are extracted during the brewing process.

The best grind for your coffee maker will depend on what model you have. In general, a medium grind will work well. Use a slightly finer medium find if your brewer has a cone-shaped filter, and a slightly coarser medium grind if your model has a flat-bottom filter.

Step 4: Let the Grounds Bloom

Once your filter, grounds and water are in the coffee maker it’s time to begin the actual brewing process. First, determine how long you want the grounds to bloom (pre-infuse) for.

Freshly roasted coffee should be allowed to bloom for 30 to 40 seconds before the brewing process continues. Dampening the grounds and letting them sit for a half-minute gives the carbon dioxide that’s still in them a chance to escape so it doesn’t sour the brewed coffee.

How the bloom is set varies from model to model. On some coffee makers, you have to manually control the flow of water. On others, you enter this information into the coffee maker’s program.

Step 4: Wait for Coffee to Brew

At this point, all that’s left to do is let the coffee brew. Wait for a few minutes, and you’ll have a pot of delicious coffee to enjoy.

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Author Scott

Scott is a professional writer for Driftaway Coffee. He worked as a barista for eight years, but today prefers to enjoy his beverages from the other side of the counter. When not drinking Driftaway Coffee, Scott usually has a mug of his own roasted coffee nearby.

More posts by Scott
  • SSFree

    SCAA on water: http://www.scaa.org/?page=resources&d=water-standards
    Using distilled water might keep your brewer clean, but its not recommend by SCAA. I can personally taste a big difference. Minerals in the water react with the coffee, using distilled water your not getting the same extraction.

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